Moving to Spain from Canada in 2023

What’s on this page?

  1. Visa and residence permit
  2. Cost of living in Spain
  3. Health care and health insurance
  4. Job search and employment
  5. Renting or buying real estate?
  6. How to quickly adapt?

Today, a happy and successful person is considered not the one who has a huge bank account, a luxurious house and a prestigious car, but the one who can freely manage their time and choose the best conditions for recreation, health and life in general. Beautiful Canada is one of the most developed countries in the world. In the ranking of countries in terms of the level of happiness of people, the country ranks 15th out of 146. But many Canadians are still interested in moving to Spain.

Moving to Spain from Canada

What can motivate people to emigrate? There are a number of good reasons for a Canadian moving to Spain. Among them are the following:

  • a magnificent climate with nearly 320 sunny days a year and the average annual temperature +18⁰. The beautiful nature of Spain is also an important argument for moving. In any region of the country, green spaces astonish with their beauty, and the Mediterranean coasts annually attract millions of tourists;
  • compared to Canada, the cost of living in Spain is much lower;
  • history and rich cultural heritage also make Spain a center of world tourism. Each province boasts its own holidays and festivals, and major cities have world-famous museums with treasures of architecture and painting. Walking around any city, you can endlessly admire the narrow streets, old buildings in the Spanish style and amazing cozy courtyards;
  • healthy and delicious food. Spain's world famous cuisine ranks third in the world. Spanish agricultural producers annually supply many countries of the world with a large number of vegetables and fruits grown in excellent climatic conditions. Moreover, we cannot but mention local markets, where from early morning a huge selection of various fruits and vegetables is offered at low prices. There is always an abundance of fish and seafood on the coast. And the Spaniards themselves prefer to eat out, especially in small restaurants, where the food is always delicious and the atmosphere is genuine.

Visa and residence permit

Do Canadian citizens need a visa to stay in Spain? If you plan to stay in Spain for no longer than 90 days (3 months) within 180 days, then a visa or any other permits are not needed. If you will be staying for a longer period, then you need to open a visa or get a residence permit, since Canada is not a member of the European Union. You must apply for a visa at a Spanish consulate while still in Canada.

Spanish golden visa

Getting a visa is not difficult if you give good reasons for living in Spain. Such reasons may be as follows:

  • studies
  • job
  • another reason approved by the consulate

To obtain a visa, you need to submit the following documents:

  • passport
  • a statement corresponding to the reason for the move
  • photo
  • medical certificate
  • certificate of no criminal record
  • confirmation of payment of fees

You also need to additionally submit documents depending on the reason for the move:

Reason for moving What additional documents need to be submitted
Job Contract from a place of work in Spain

Document on enrollment in an educational institution

Medical insurance

Confirmation of financial resources for the entire period of study

Living in retirement without working

Medical insurance

Confirmation of financial resources


Business plan

Confirmation of financial resources or investment income

Moving to Spain from Canada is also possible with a Golden Visa. The Golden Visa can be opened for those citizens of Canada who have more than € 1,000,000 in a Spanish bank account or have purchased real estate worth more than € 500,000.

Cost of living in Spain

Moving from Canada to Spain primarily involves calculating and comparing the cost of living in these countries. This question worries most people who want to change their place of residence. First of all, these are young people receiving education in Spain, families with young children, and elderly people. We can definitely say that living in Spain is cheaper than in Canada.

The main expenses that interest immigrants are:

  • buying or renting a home
  • utility bills
  • taxes
  • food
  • healthcare and insurance
  • energy carriers
  • studies
  • rest
  • trips

We invite you to compare prices for basic goods and services in two countries in 2023:

Item of expenses Canada, € Spain, €
One-bedroom apartment rent, month 971 739
Utilities for 1 person per month 88.7 65
Lunch at a mid-range restaurant 15.3 12
1 liter of milk 2 0.9
1 kg tomatoes 3.3 1.8
1 kg chicken filet 10.7 6.7
Monthly travel card for public transport 74 38.7
One pair of athletic shoes 89 70
Monthly expenses for a family of 4 3045.3 2292.6
Monthly family contributions for public health insurance 410 254

The highest cost of living in Spain is found in major cities and towns along the Mediterranean coast. However, you can also find inexpensive real estate for purchase or rent on the outskirts of cities. In the Spanish hinterland, prices for housing and basic goods and services are quite low. Andalusia is considered the cheapest province to live in.

Health care and health insurance

One of the important questions asked by Canadian citizens before moving to Spain is the quality of healthcare and the procedure for health insurance. Spain has a well-developed healthcare system. Like in Canada, it is based on health insurance. But if in Canada it is necessary to take out medical insurance, then in Spain it is recommended.

All Spanish citizens and foreigners making social security contributions are entitled to public health insurance. If you are not a Spanish citizen and do not work or contribute to social security, you can take out private health insurance. In Canada private health insurance will cost from € 80 to € 170 depending on age, health status and insurance company, while in Spain it will cost from € 26 to € 198.

Job search and employment

The labor market in Spain is characterized by high demand and insufficient supply. Spain is one of the European countries with a high unemployment level, especially among young people. Therefore, the best option would be to take care of your employment in Spain while still in Canada. Then, upon arrival, your future income will be clear, and the place of residence, taxes, and health insurance will be determined accordingly. If you plan to look for work after the final move, then use the following tips:

  • be active. Constantly study information sources about vacancies, but do not forget to leave the house to search for a job. After all, "word of mouth" has not been canceled, and among fellow immigrants there are probably knowledgeable people who can help you;
  • do not try to immediately find a job that matches your education and experience. You are unlikely to succeed and you will lose time and optimism;
  • first of all, pay attention to the area of tourism, restaurant and hotel business. You can teach English/French both offline and remotely. Of course, it is easier to find a job in a large city, using the experience of compatriots who have moved earlier. In small towns it is possible to find a job in agricultural sector, while looking for something better;

Important! Knowing Spanish will greatly increase your chances of finding a good job. Therefore, start learning the language as soon as you decide to move.

Renting or buying real estate?

If you arrived in Spain already having a job, then the place of residence has already been determined for you. It remains to decide on the type of housing, area of the city, and most importantly whether to rent or purchase. Even if you have sufficient funds to buy real estate, do not rush. Rent an apartment for a short time to look around and make an informed decision.

Let us say that you are faced with a choice in which region to settle. The choice is huge, but consider your preferences.

Location Advantages Disadvantages
Big City

Active lifestyle

More opportunities

Theaters and museums

Gassed atmosphere


High prices

City on the coast

Weather and nature

Sports and recreation


High prices

Rural hinterland

Environmentally friendly products

Low prices

Difficult to find a job


Having decided on the place, choose the type of housing. On the real estate market, today there are many offers for the sale of various types of properties, both newly built and on the secondary market:

  • apartments
  • townhouses
  • penthouses
  • bungalows
  • chalets
  • villas

Each of these types has its own advantages, you can find a lot of information about them on the Internet. But in order to better understand the characteristics of housing and its qualities, the best solution would be to contact a real estate agency. In each region and province of Spain, there are many professionals with a reliable reputation who will help you make the right choice, provide all services for processing the transaction. An example of such a company is WTG Spain.

How to quickly adapt?

Changing your place of residence, and even moving to another country, is always a serious test. And it is often not about money, but about the lack of communication and ignorance of the mentality of local residents. Over time, adaptation will definitely happen and life will get better, but in the initial period you need to try to find a social circle. Go to Barcelona to see the masterpieces of Gaudí, or Madrid to the Prado Museum. Take a flamenco course and experience the atmosphere of a dance that you can understand even without knowing Spanish.

Canadians moving to Spain find themselves among people known for their emotional and burning temperament. At first, this can be alarming and even wanting to avoid communication, but over time you will get used to it, because the Spaniards are very friendly people who perfectly accept everyone who comes to the country with good hopes.

So, if you have made the final decision to move, then do the following:

  • prepare as much as possible by studying information about the country, its legislation, tax system
  • check out the job and housing market
  • watch Spanish movies
  • play music
  • be sure to learn the language

Be optimistic and you will succeed!


What is the cost of living in Spain compared to the cost of living in Canada?

It depends on many factors: your preferences in housing, food, recreation and entertainment. In general, the cost of living in Canada is higher than in Spain.

Do I need to speak Spanish to move to Spain from Canada?

This can greatly help you in many aspects of life in Spain, both at work and at home. But knowledge of the language is not mandatory.

Can I work in Spain as a Canadian expat?

People who have emigrated from Canada can work in Spain at the invitation of an employer, by obtaining a work visa or doing business.

How can I transfer my money to Spain as a Canadian expatriate?

You can transfer funds from Canada to Spain to an emigrant using international money transfer services, including online ones. When choosing a transfer method, compare exchange rates and fees.


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